A bunch of sports bookies pulling in $25 million a year for the Gambino crime family were arrested this weekend in a series of raids that exposed a new wrinkle in the shady world of illegal betting, authorities said.
Organized-crime investigators said they were surprised that two Asian alleged bookies were arrested in the annual Super Bowl sweep called “Operation Kings Flush.”
“Traditionally, organized-crime families tend to stick with Italians [running their books]. This was a wrinkle they hadn’t seen before,” said Jerry Schmetterer, a spokesman for Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes.
Wing Yeun Pang and Jian T. Li were nabbed in their Flushing homes with more high-tech bookkeeping equipment than is usually uncovered during the raids, cops said.
Laptop computers and disks were found containing organized spreadsheets detailing bets and debts. Along with the computers was a paper shredder.
Authorities said the two bookie suspects would write down their clients’ bets on scrap paper, punch the numbers into the computer and then destroy the handwritten evidence through the shredder.
The raids – conducted by members of the NYPD Vice Enforcement Squad and detectives from Hynes’ office – netted another seven alleged bookies in Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn.
Authorities uncovered hundreds of betting slips, ledgers called “works,” cell phones, a device used for setting up multiple phone jacks, telephone recording devices, a gun and $120,000 in cash during the raids of 10 houses, officials said.
The bookies’ ledgers showed more than $500,000 in bets were taken in for last night’s Super Bowl alone.
One book showed $300,000 in bets had been placed in just one day, Hynes said.
Hynes called the bookmakers “the cash cow of organized crime.”
“Betting with organized crime is inherently evil,” he said. “Why should all this money go down the black hole of organized crime?”
All nine men have been charged with promoting gambling and possession of gambling records, and could face up to four years in prison if convicted.
Meanwhile, cops continued hunting down other bookmaking suspects yesterday, confiscating a safety deposit box from Abacus Federal Savings bank on Canal Street that contains money and paperwork linked to other bookies, authorities said.
Former Mobster Says Jersey Won't Put a Dent In Illegal Gambling – 60 Minutes Sports Preview
Despite plans by the state of New Jersey to provide strict oversight of sports betting, local insiders say illegal bookmaking will continue. Watch 60 Minutes Sports …